Assessing an application for a Taxi Operator Licence

When you are applying for a taxi operator’s licence, the most important consideration is based on whether you can fulfil the role without posing any likely threat to the general safety of the public. If you are not considered ‘fit and proper’, your application will be refused.

Proving you are ‘fit and proper’ to hold taxi licence

In order to be licensed as a taxi operator, you will need to prove that you are fit and proper, or if you are applying as a company or a partnership, you will need to prove that all the individuals who make up that firm are fit and proper.

Guidelines for assessment

When assessing your application, Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) has a set of guidelines which it has to apply to make sure that there is a consistent approach. However, these guidelines are not exhaustive or definitive and each application will be considered on its own merits.

The guidelines are based on the following criteria:

  • any other Taxi Operator Licence applications
  • radio licences
  • insurance
  • VAT and accounts
  • your business repute
  • your right to live and work in the UK

Radio licences

If you communicate with your affiliated drivers by a two-way radio or you use a computerised booking despatch system, you will need to be licensed by Ofcom (Office of Communications).

Ofcom (Office of Communications) NI
2nd Floor Landmark House
5 Cromac Quay
The Gasworks
Ormeau Road
Belfast
BT7 2JD

Telephone: 0300 123 3333

Licensed taxi operators cannot use CB radios in connection with their taxi business

Insurance

You will probably need Employer’s Liability Insurance and if your operating centre is open to the public you will also need Public liability insurance.

Employer’s Liability Insurance (ELI)

Employers’ liability cover is a legal requirement for most employers and enables businesses to meet the costs of compensation and legal fees for employees who are injured or who are made ill at work through the fault of the employer.

Public liability insurance

For any operating centre that is accessible to the public, the taxi operator must have an insurance policy against public liability risks which provides a minimum indemnity of £5 million for any one event.

VAT and accounts

If you are registered for VAT you will need to enclose your VAT Registration Certificate with your application, or an acknowledgement from HMRC that you have applied for VAT registration and then present the registration certificate to DVA whenever HMRC issues it.

If you or your partnership is not VAT registered you will have to provide alternative evidence that your business tax obligations are in order:

  • if you are a sole trader you will have to supply your last HMRC self assessment
  • if you are starting a business or becoming self-employed you will have to supply confirmation from HMRC that you have registered for self-assessment
  • in the case of a partnership, each partner must supply a copy of their HMRC self assessment and partnership tax return
  • in the case of a new partnership, each partner must enclose proof of registration for self assessment and registration of the partnership for business taxes

If you choose not to prepare formal accounts you still need to keep records of income and expenditure over a set accounting period. You may be required to produce these.

 

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